Bucks arena construction slated for July start

Construction manager to be named soon

A rendering of the planned new Milwaukee Bucks arena and live block area.

Last updated on July 3rd, 2019 at 07:14 pm

Construction on the new Milwaukee Bucks arena in downtown Milwaukee is scheduled to begin in July, and a construction manager for the $500 million project is expected to be named in the next few days, according to Bucks officials. Construction is scheduled to be complete in August of 2018, in time for the start of the 2018-19 NBA season.

Sewer relocation work is currently underway, so construction can begin in June on the six-story parking structure, which will be located between Juneau Avenue, McKinley Avenue, Fifth Street and Sixth Street, just north of the new arena, said Marc Farha, executive vice president with  Greenwood Village, Colo.-based ICON Venue Group, the team’s owner’s representative.

A rendering of the planned new Milwaukee Bucks arena and live block area.
A rendering of the planned new Milwaukee Bucks arena and live block area.

Farha spoke Monday night during a construction information meeting held by the Bucks at the BMO Harris Bradley Center.

Construction will also begin on the Buck’s new 55,000-square-foot training center in June, Farha said. The facility, bounded by West Winnebago Street, North Sixth Street and McKinley Avenue, will include two full-sized courts, a weight room, a hydrotherapy and medical training area, video replay viewing space, a full-service kitchen and parking for the players.

Once the training center is completed in July 2017, the Bucks will vacate their training facilities at the Cousins Center in St. Francis, where they have practiced since 1997.

Milwaukee-based architecture firm Eppstein Uhen Architects is designing the new training center and JP Cullen is the construction manager.

Earlier this month, the Bucks and the city announced that J.H. Findorff & Son Inc., which has offices in Madison and Milwaukee, would be the construction manager for the parking structure. Milwaukee-based engineering firm GRAEF and Milwaukee-based architecture firm American Design Inc. are designing the 1,243-space structure. The city will own the parking structure when it is completed in October 2017.

The parking structure will include mixed-use components, including 10,000 square feet of retail space along Juneau Avenue and 11,000 square feet of office space along McKinley Avenue.

The mixed-use spaces will initially be designed as shell spaces, according to the Bucks. Approximately 100,000 square feet of apartment units with first floor retail or office is also planned along North Sixth Street, although the residential component is not included in the initial project.

The Bucks are currently talking to developers about the residential portion of the project, Farha said.

As for as the arena itself, the 700,000-square-foot center  is expected to hold up to 17,500 people for basketball games and will be constructed to achieve a minimum of LEED Certification. The Milwaukee Admirals hockey team will not play at the new arena, and is expected to reach an agreement soon to play at the UWM Panther Arena.

The Bucks arena site is approximately 6.7 acres bounded by Highland and Juneau avenues and Fourth and Sixth streets. A portion of Fourth Street, adjacent to the arena, between Highland and Juneau avenues will serve as the “Live Block” entertainment plaza.

Kansas City, Mo.-based Populous Architects Inc. has been selected as the lead architect for the project.

Financing for the arena includes a $47 million tax incremental financing district creating by the city of Milwaukee. In return, the Bucks have pledged to meet workforce development goals for construction.

“This was not easy to get to this step, it was a controversial project but we got here with a lot of consternation,” said Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett. “Now the next step is to make sure that we get this done and we get it done correctly. I want to make sure the people who build this arena look like the people who live in this community.”

At least 25 percent of construction spending and between 17 and 18 percent of processional service spending will have to be with disadvantaged business enterprise, small business enterprise or small disadvantaged business. Forty percent of on-site construction hours have to meet Milwaukee’s Residents Preference Program requirements.

“I’m excited to break ground and excited to change the landscape of this community,” said Bucks President Peter Feigin. “It’s a pivotal time where we will be changing the way we engage the community and changing the way we engage workforce in this city.”

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